Late-night chaos in RS, MP tears Lokpal bill

Even as an agitated MP of the Rashtriya Janata Dal tore a copy of the Lokpal Bill and others from the opposition bench repeatedly interrupted him, the Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, V Narayanasamy, sought to defend the proposed legislation in the Rajya Sabha.

Amid noisy exchanges between the Government and Opposition benches, Chairman Hamid Ansari had to adjourn the House for 15 minutes at 11:28 pm.

Narayanasamy slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party for opposing the quota for minorities in the proposed Lokpal, but also tried to allay concerns of the regional parties, including the Congress’ allies All India Trinamool Congress and Dravida Munnethra Kazhagam, on the issue of Lokayukta in the States. “The proviso for appointment of Lokayukta will apply only to a state which has given prior consent,” he said.

The AITC and DMK – both constituents of the ruling United Progressive Alliance – opposed the provision in the Lokpal Bill to set up Lokayuktas in the States.
As Narayanasamy rose to reply to the day-long animated debate on the Lokpal Bill in the Upper House, Rajniti Prasad, an MP of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, came to the minister and tried to take away papers from the desk in front of him.

Narayanasamy was seen trying to protect his papers from Prasad. He was joined by Minister of State for Planning Ashwani Kumar and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal. Prasad, however, managed to get hold of what appeared a copy of the Lokpal Bill. He tore it and threw it in the well of the House even as the Chairman, Hamid Ansari, repeatedly asked him to go back to his seat.

The RJD, which is led by Lalu Prasad, has been opposing the Lokpal Bill and staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

The chaos continued even as Narayanasamy slammed the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance for not getting the Lokpal Bill passed by Parliament during its rule. He wondered why the erstwhile NDA Government did not get the Lokpal Bill passed by Parliament after the then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee himself suggested inclusion of the top executive of the Government within the purview of the proposed institution of ombudsman. He said that the Congress-led UPA Government had accepted the demand for bringing the PM and his office within the purview of the Lokpal.

Amid repeated interruptions by the opposition MPs, Narayanasamy criticized the BJP for opposing the quota for minorities in the Lokpal. “Minorities are also citizens of India. They should also have the right to be on the Lokpal. So, why are you opposing this?” he asked the BJP MPs.

As Narayanasamy continued defending the Bill amid din, Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Moinul Hassan said: “Nobody wants to listen to him. So, why is he continuing?”

Hassan, joined by party colleagues and members of the BJP, wanted Chairman Hamid Ansari to clarify whether the House will continue after midnight or adjourn, as the session was extended only till December 29.

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